Shortly after beginning production of automobiles, The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company, through it’s advertising agency, Calkins & Holden of New York City, commissioned beautiful artwork for their catalog illustrations and magazine advertising. While many other automobile companies used text with little or no artwork to explain the technical virtues of their product, the Pierce-Arrow advertising tended to use little or often no text at all to show the virtures of the Pierce-Arrow through illustrations. In these early days before television or radio, the magazine was a powerful advertising medium. Pierce-Arrow ads were often on the back cover, or the inside covers, partly because of the prominence of the location, and partly because these were often the only pages printed in color. The subject of the artwork typically showed the social elite going about their daily activities. Of course the Pierce-Arrow was a natural part of the picture. Consequently, the car is usually quite understated. While many of the settings were typical: country clubs, the theater, and other fashionable settings, some of the advertisements showed Pierce-Arrows in locations one would not expect to find an automobile at the time. These included rural settings such as the American West, where few people ventured in an automobile in the early years of the century. Just showing a Pierce-Arrow in locations such as this spoke loudly about it’s mechanical virtues.
To paint the illustrations, Calkins & Holden hired prominent illustrators of the time. Some of the artists commissioned to do work for Pierce-Arrow were: Louis Fancher, Ludwig Hohlwein, Myron Perley, John Sheridan, Adolph Treidler, Edward Wilson, N.C. Wyeth, and many others.
If you appreciate these fine illustrations of another era, we invite you to join the Pierce-Arrow Society. Pierce-Arrow advertising artwork routinely appears in our printed publications. In addition, we feature a few illustrations at a time here and change them on a periodic basis. We hope you enjoy the current gallery and will return to enjoy the next set too.